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Vest Saves Guard Shot in Robbery Attempt

Times Staff Writer

A bulletproof vest is credited with saving a bank security guard from serious injury during a shootout Thursday morning when an armed man attempted to rob a Studio City branch of Bank of America.

The gunman and a guard, also armed, confronted each other on the sidewalk in front of the bank in the 12000 block of Ventura Boulevard shortly after 9 a.m., said Sgt. John Pasquariello of the Los Angeles Police Department.

The guard fired six or seven shots at the gunman, said Bank of America spokesman Ken Preston. The guard, whose name was not released, suffered a fractured shoulder from a fall during the confrontation. He was treated at a hospital and released, Preston said.

It was not immediately known how many shots the gunman fired, but one did strike the guard’s body armor, police said.

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Customers were inside the bank during the shootout.

“Los Angeles is the bank robbery capital of the world,” said Cheryl Mimura, an FBI spokeswoman.

As of Wednesday, there had been 161 bank robberies in Southern California this year, Mimura said. Last year, in the same period, there were 238.

“We’re the largest bank in Southern California and we get robbed on a regular basis,” Preston said.

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Police are reviewing security videotapes to see if the gunman is depicted, Preston said.


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